Stella Young, Australian comedian and disability rights activist, once gave a famous TED talk. In it, she said, “Living with a disability is nothing compared to living with exclusion.”
Today, more and more businesses are realising the importance of accessibility. It’s time to stop excluding a bunch of people. It’s better to include more talented workers. And invite more paying customers to engage with your brand.
In this blog, we show you how to create a disability friendly environment. For both your workers and your customers.
Is your business location accessible to people with disability? If not, people avoid entering the premises and engaging with your brand. Making your business location accessible should be a top priority. Remember to describe your accessibility features on your website. People are looking for this information online.
How to make your location accessible:
- Create wheelchair accessible entrances
- Use signs to welcome assistance animals
- Make accessible toilets and change rooms
- Ensure there’s enough seating
- Use braille for brochures, flyers or menus
- Have an iPad for typing messages to deaf people
- Show products or services through pictures
More and more people with disability are using technology to access digital content. That’s why you need to make your online presence accessible. In this way, you include an important demographic in your audience. And you also convey a positive disability friendly brand message too.
How to make your digital content accessible:
- Ensure high contrast between background and text
- Avoid image overlays which make text hard to read
- Create space between paragraphs
- Optimise your digital content for assistive technologies
- Read about how to create accessible marketing to increase brand engagement
Empower your workers by raising their awareness of disability issues. Through awareness training, you sensitise them to the needs of people with disability. Your team learn correct etiquette and language. Training also helps remove positive or negative biases and stereotypes. Through awareness training, your organisation becomes more disability friendly.
Hire people with disability
A study by Australian Network on Disability revealed some interesting statistics. People with disability experience double the unemployment rate of people without disability. And over a third of working people with disability are managers and professionals. By employing people with disability, you gain more than new talented employees. You improve your business’s diversity reputation. And show that you’re inclusive towards other diverse groups as well.
Trying to help is innocent enough. But some of our intuitive behaviours may disempower a customer with disability. Got a customer-facing business? Train your team in disability friendly service principles. In this way, you give customers with disability back their independence. And give them a dignified experience in your office or store.
Service principles for people with disability:
- Treat people with disability as expected, rather than a surprise
- Avoid over-servicing the customer, thereby taking away their choice and control
- Don’t assume a customer with disability wants or needs help
- Await specific instructions
- Accommodate extra time for the customer to do or say what they need to
Ensure your business is disability friendly by making it more accessible. Do some awareness training and learn service principles for people with disability. With a disability friendly business, you gain more customers and skilled employees. You also create a more inclusive brand.